Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dark and Crispy Pan-Fried Red Potatoes

I'll start off by saying that this is first recipe from Fast, Fresh, and Green that has disappointed me. These potatoes are by no means unpalatable, but they did fall short on a few accounts. The first is my fault. I used a nearly brand-new cast-iron pan, which even though it came "pre-seasoned", most definitely did not have the nonstick properties of a well-used, well-seasoned cast-iron pan and some of my delicious potato crust stuck to the pan (I did scrape up all the delicious brown bits and mix them in with the rest of the potatoes). The second is the fault of the recipe-there's just too much fat. Instead of tasting the flavor of the potatoes, the potatoes mostly taste like oil and butter. Don't get me wrong, I love the flavor of butter, but as an accent and complement to other flavors. If I make these potatoes again, I'll start the cooking at a higher heat to get a better sear and crust on the potatoes, use less oil (though maintain the final butter enrichment), add finely minced onions for additional flavor, and use more garlic, pressed through a garlic press.

Dark and Crispy Pan-Fried Red Potatoes
from Fast, Fresh, and Green by Susie Middleton
serves 3

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled, cut in 1/2-inch dice or pieces
1 t. kosher salt
1 T. unsalted butter
1/2 t. minced fresh garlic, or more if you like
1/2 t. chopped fresh rosemary
Coarse sea salt (optional)

1. In a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan or a seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot (it will loosen and spread out), add the potatoes, immediately spreading them out in one layer. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, without stirring or moving, until the potatoes have developed a nice crust on the bottom and can be moved, 7 to 9 minutes (check with a thin metal spatula). Flip over all of the potatoes with the spatula and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more without stirring.

2. Continue to cook, now flipping and scraping more often, until the potatoes are a deep caramel brown color on most sides and feel tender when pierced with the edge of the spatula, 12 to 15 minutes. (If necessary, lower the heat a bit toward the end of cooking.) Turn the heat down to low and add the butter, garlic, and rosemary. Stir until the butter is melted and the garlic is softened, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a serving dish and season with more kosher salt or coarse sea salt (if using).

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